On Lent and Springtime.

It seems like lately the world is full of uncertainty.
Right now, things are ever-changing even more than normal.
The enemy is running wild right now.

In my little piece of the world, like many ends of the earth, we were experiencing the waves and trembling of Covid-19:
Stores low on supplies.
Schools closed.
Businesses temporarily closed.
Carry-out and delivery only.
Sidewalks vacant of people.
Working remotely when able.
Churches streaming online exclusively.
Daily press briefings.
Quarantines.
Numbers of cases climbing each day across the TV screen.
Social distancing.
Everyone a little on edge.

In addition to the fear, panic, sickness, death, and so much else that Covid-19 brings; we are also currently experiencing flooding. Roads are closed, trees are down, streams are overflowing from their banks and pastures are waterlogged. A series of strong storms have been rolling through daily. Weather alerts and heavy winds. Snow.

 

And yet, I can’t help to shake two things from my mind.
Two things, that are sadly very easy to ignore in this ‘new normal’.

1 – It’s Lent
2 – It’s Springtime

Let’s take a moment to focus on Lent.
For those who may not know, Lent is defined by Miriam Webster as:

“the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting”

Less formally, Lent is a time to give up things that we love, things that take our focus away from our Creator in order to refocus our devotion. Growing up, Lent was always a time of recalibration for me. It was more than just giving up soda for 40 days and not eating meat on Friday’s. It still is.

It is not lost on me that during a time designed to fast and repent we are being pulled in so many different directions. In a time meant to bring us closer to our Creator; a time meant to focus on the gravity of the Easter story, we are tempted to focus on fear. A time that while scary, is also a prime vantage point to lean in – really lean in. The things that have been stripped away leave time for focusing in. Time once spent in busyness can be filled with family, nature, Scripture, prayer, and intentionality.

Don’t let the troubles of this world take away from preparing your heart for Holy Week. Remind yourself of the days Jesus walked through before the cross, what He took on for us in His death, and may we never forget His defeat of eternal death in His resurrection. We, when we are in Him, have the promise of eternal life.

Today is the first day of Spring.
A season of new life, of growth. And yet this year this season feels like a loss of life as it typically is this time of year.  This morning when I took our pup out for her walk the sunrise painted itself along the side of our house. The birds were still singing. The flowers were still blooming as they always do this time of year. Matthew 6 (25-34) has been rolling through my head.

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment of your life?… Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” Matthew 6:26-27, 29-30

Can all your worries add a single moment of your life?
The answer is no.
Worrying simply steals from the present.
Worrying takes away my ability to plan clearly.

It then goes on to say:

 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

 

This is not to say that there’s not a lot that is tempting to worry about.
There is a lot to worry about.
Money.
Jobs.
Family.
Food.
Health.
Security.
However, God is bigger than all of those things.
His plan and purpose is bigger.
As my husband has said, (in more eloquent words than I have) we’ve been fighting an invisible enemy for a very long time, in this instance, there’s just more people talking about it, experiencing it.

Which is why friends, I emplore you, do not let the chaos and confusion of these strange times we are living in lead you to forget whose you are.

This virus is attacking our bodies but it cannot attack the soul (unless we let it). The enemy and all he uses can be overwhelming, but the end of the story has already been written.

 
This world is uncertain but God is not.
The world brings fear but God’s perfect love casts out fear.
Things may seem hopeless but God brings hope.
Be kind to one another. Be compassionate. Help each other out.
Check on your neighbor, really love them.
Learn the scriptures, communicate with your Creator.

 
May we use this time to become less dependent on our material possessions and structure and more dependent on the One who holds it all.

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